Health care|November 28, 2012 11:20 AM

Colorado hospitals boost safety grades

Fully one-third garner ‘A’s; none fail

The number of Colorado hospitals receiving an “A” grade for patient safety nearly doubled in the past six months, from seven to 13.

The Washington-based Leapfrog Group sets the grades nationwide and publicizes them to reduce the nearly 400 lives lost every day in U.S. hospitals due to preventable errors. These include hospital-borne infections and giving the patient the wrong medication or the wrong blood. Hospitals are ranked on their rates of such problems as well as related factors like staffing levels and prevention practices.

One-third of the 39 ranked Colorado hospitals received an “A” grade in a just-released report, while states like Maine and Massachusetts, with strong hospital safety programs, saw 80 percent or more receiving the top grade.

“Leapfrog is unbiased in telling the whole truth about how hospitals are doing, no matter how much discomfort that causes many of them. Consumers deserve ‘A’ hospitals and someday we may see all hospitals earning ‘A’s.’ However, we are not there yet,” said Keith Reissaus, board chair of The Leapfrog Group, in a media release.

Attaining an “A” once, however, didn’t mean staying in the top ranks. Two Colorado hospitals that received the highest grade in June slipped downward in the new report card. Parkview in Pueblo and St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction both dropped from an A to a C.

St. Mary’s received a zero grade on the size of its nursing staff. “Their rate of central-line associated blood-stream infections and rate of death from serious treatable complications after surgery also contributed to their grade change,” said Kristi Skowronski, a spokeswoman for the Leapfrog Group.

Parkview was downgraded for somewhat higher rates of infections, accidental cuts and pressure ulcers, among other issues.

Details of each hospital’s grade can be found at

Another 11 hospitals in Colorado received a grade of “B,” and 15 received a “C” grade. The last included Exempla Lutheran in Wheat Ridge, which boosted its grade from a “pending” grade last June. At that time, hospitals rated below C were given time to raise their grades before being labeled failing.

SCL Health System is “committed to providing the highest quality of care” at all of its four hospitals in Colorado, including Exempla Lutheran and St. Mary’s, said spokeswoman Deb Livingstone. The group has “implemented a number of quality improvement programs” and supports public access to information on hospital quality, she said.

Colorado had none of the 147 hospitals nationwide receiving failing grades in this round of rankings.

The Colorado Hospital Association had objected to the Leapfrog study six months ago, but says changes have been made that no longer penalize certain hospitals for failing to report certain safety data. CHA also suggested patients seek personal references for quality hospitals, and check other websites with quality data, including Medicare’s Hospital Comparison, the state’s data on infections and CHA’s own Colorado Hospital Report Card.

You can send your stories of hospital safety problems to or comment on

Colorado Hospital Safety Grades

Hospital Name
Arkansas Valley Regional Medical Center, La JuntaC
Boulder Community Hospital, BoulderB
Centura - Parker Adventist Hospital, ParkerB
Centura - St. Anthony, LakewoodA
Centura - St. Mary Corwin Medical Center, PuebloC
Centura Ð Avista Adventist Hospital, LouisvilleC
Centura Ð Littleton Adventist HospitalA
Centura Ð Penrose St. Francis Health Center, Colorado Springs,B
Centura Ð Porter Adventist Hospital, DenverA
Centura Ð St. Anthony North Hospital, WestminsterC
Centura Ð St. Francis Medical Center, Colorado SpringsB
Centura Ð St. Thomas More Hospital, Canon CityC
Community Hospital, Grand JunctionC
Delta County Memorial Hospital, DeltaA
Denver Health Medical CenterA
Exempla Good Samaritan Medical Center, LafayetteA
Exempla Lutheran Medical Center, Wheat RidgeC
Exempla St. Joseph Hospital, DenverA
Longmont United Hospital, LongmontC
McKee Medical Center, LovelandA
Medical Center of AuroraA
Medical Center of the Rockies, LovelandB
Memorial Health System, Colorado SpringsC
Mercy Regional Medical Center of DurangoA
Montrose Memorial Hospital, MontroseC
North Colorado Medical Center, GreeleyB
North Suburban Medical Center, ThorntonB
Parkview Medical Center, PuebloC
Platte Valley Medical Center, BrightonB
Poudre Valley Hospital, Fort CollinsB
Presbyterian Ð St. LukeÕs Medical Center, DenverC
Rose Medical Center, DenverA
San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center, AlamosaC
Sky Ridge Medical Center, Lone TreeA
St. MaryÕs Hospital and Medical Center, Grand JunctionC
Sterling Regional MedCenter, SterlingB
Swedish Medical Center, EnglewoodB
University of Colorado Hospital, AuroraA
Valley View Hospital, Glenwood SpringsC
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